Fear, failure, and loser are just a few words associated with making mistakes. Certainly, the associative properties of these words don’t elevate self esteem, but our own misperceptions often lead to the damaging emotions that result from making mistakes.
There is a big difference between trying something new and intentionally doing something wrong. Mistakes may be made in both situations, however, one offers the potential for positive change where the other merely satisfies a temporary need and often ends in greater harm.
Just like most things in life that lead to improved security and self confidence, we need to learn and practice new patterns of thinking that permit us to make mistakes. We need to see mistakes as opportunities to grow and expand our capabilities and understanding rather than merely examples of sub par outcomes or outright failures. We must realize the ability to learning is a GIFT we all possess. Each of us, however, learn in different ways (ex. visual, auditory, written) and must find and utilize the methods most effective for learning and processing information. Learning is NOT always fun OR easy, but the increased knowledge (or ability to integrate this knowledge) is ALWAYS BENEFICIAL.
I question whether our fear comes from actual mistakes or comes from an innate understanding that we, as individuals, lack self commitment to pursuing purposeful approaches to succeed in life. If this is true, FEAR of making MISTAKES becomes the dominating force which impedes our intellectual, physical and emotional abilities. Obesity, depression, cardiac conditions, diabetic conditions and cancer BECOME OUTCOMES RATHER THAN CAUSES OF DISEASE. This is why doctors have been unsuccessful at overcoming these conditions. Until doctors get patients to recognize the cause of disease (in many cases) is SELF INFLICTED lifestyle patterns, medication, chiropractic adjustments and accupuncture will never reverse the trend of disease. The answer lies within the patient and their willingness to live a lifestyle that promotes physical and emotional health.
This fear of making mistakes starts relatively young and takes hold over children and young adults pursuing high school and college educations. This results in the dropout rates we see today. Forms of social media are used as a “hideout” and begin consuming the lives of individuals as they begin isolating and alienating themselves from society. This form of communication satisfies the need for self control as the individual pushes buttons on a keyboard, tablet or cell phone without the fear of direct confrontation. This world of communication creates a “MISTAKE FREE” environment making it a source for many people to use for “refuge.” This path reinforces withdrawing from life and its opportunities and leads to increasing rates of obesity, depression and other physical health maladies. This was NOT the intent of social media and can be corrected and used in a helpful manner to share information in a meaningful way. Why do so many people choose this path if the outcome is so damaging? It is my opinion, “MISTAKES” and the negative connotations they impose on individuals already lacking self confidence creates such desperation, that long term detriment is accepted for short term relief.
This is why health in United States is so bad and why the current approach to improving it has failed. You can’t treat physical or emotional problems effectively until people see a realistic path in life to pursue or follow. Instructing people on good food sources or proper exercise routines are ONLY steps in a process; not outright solutions. Defining the bigger picture and filling the current void with constructive ideas that will foster social interaction rather than reinforcing the current trend to insulate and isolate individuals behind computer screens and cell phones is an important FIRST step.
For those people reading this and relating to its content, I suggest a few points to consider if desiring to redirect one’s current path in life.
FIND PURPOSE IN LIFE: Those who have no starting point may wish to seek others in need. An example might be organizations like “Big Brother or Big Sister.” Seek out charitable organizations such as “Meals on wheels” or shelters that feed the homeless. By helping others, we gain a new perspective on life, where we fit, and what our strengths and weaknesses are. It also adds value to our own lives as we help others and influence the outcomes of those in need.
EDUCATION: Educate yourself (formally through certified education OR informally through library sources, hands on voluntary vocational training or neighborhood improvement programs.) These sources of learning provide an environment to come out from behind the computer or cell phone placing us among positive people and increasing opportunity for social interactions. They offer nurturing conditions without “fear” of judgement and help you witness mistakes that organizations make that lead to productive outcomes rather than organizational failure. This new understanding reduces the fear of mistakes and further encourages improved self esteem. Mistakes become seen as opportunities for new growth and development instead of “failure”.
SMALL PERSONAL CHANGES: If you eat poorly and don’t exercise, begin by identifying these issues as self damaging. Decide for yourself your self worth. If you determine you deserve and desire better, begin by implementing small easy changes that can be incorporated into lifelong habits without feeling the sense of deprivation. Some examples might include: (1) walking 5-15 minutes a day. Commit and practice this behavior without excuses. If it is raining, cold or hot outside, walk in your house or go to a mall. Whatever activity you choose make certain its doable and one you are ready to commit to. New patterns require REPETITION to become true habits. (2) begin eating three meals per day (if you currently eat irregularly.) Make one of these meals a healthy meal that satisfies the need for taste and flavor. Every two weeks incorporate a different meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) into this healthy category. Include one day per week an optional “anything goes” day in case you decide you want one. This provides “permission” to oneself WITHOUT GUILT. This pattern becomes a new “habit” and leads to less cravings for damaging foods. Over time, poorer quality foods are no longer needed to create “feel good” moments. Improved quality living begins displacing the need for unhealthy food choices.
With the new year upon us, new opportunities to travel different paths in life are achievable. I do NOT call this a resolution! I call it a new lifelong lifestyle that becomes as natural to live (with a healthy and happy outcome) as your current lifestyle is (without the damaging self destructive patterns.) Many people need to hit rock bottom before seeking a better alternative. Why delay the inevitable better path since you now have three realistic options that can start you on a better path?
I ask you for one favor in return. In the comment space, provide your reason for changing course and what simple easy steps you will start with. I need your assistance to motivate other people in your shoes to keep this process going. Your words AND ACTIONS will encourage other people to “pay it forward.” All I ask is that you truly commit to your own ACTIONS. Please, make your life better to help yet another person improve theirs.